I wrote the following set of scenes at a pub this afternoon. I was reading Bitov’s The Symmetry Teacher, drinking the free near-pint at the bottom of a Smithwick’s keg, and in an emotional welter.
I tried to transcribe it here, clean, dress, and feed it, but it resisted. Like a deep sea creature, exploding from an absence of pressure.
There is that which cannot live here, that which the blogosphere spirits will not allow.
I quote it, however, as though it were some preinternet text.
My ambition, my goad, is to know and perform all literary art. Poetry, prose, and potboiler. Trash, mere information, theory, close read, essay, memoir, tabloid, joke, and pun. Lucid observation, fuddlement, and hallucination and the shared hallucination at the base of the real.
Alana tells me about her lovers and most of the telling later subsumes into one or two details.
This is how I understand stories.
He put his hand over her face to take the measure of each.
I have come to welcome her lovers into my desire.
His hand is the many in the I. Her face is the spring from whence all art…
I came to my work with the scientist’s ambition to godhead. But myth not math is my medium.
The Indian chief is dying. His wounds will not heal. He is covered in sores, swellings, and scabs red and hot. His features are deformed. He calls for his horse, but his people will not bring her. He calls for his horse, but his people will not bring her. He calls for his horse. He says he wants to ride to Death’s country like a warrior. His people bring his horse. They help him to mount. He is unsteady in the saddle. He clicks his tongue. He digs in his heels. His horse runs. He rides out of the village, into the setting sun, toward the infinite plain. His scabs break. His sores shower him and his horse with puss. His grasp fails and he falls, comical, into the grass. His people retrieve him and prepare for his death. But he does not die. He recovers. He thought he would ride his horse to Death but rode instead to life.
I said once, in casual, meaningless, and complete honesty, the kind known only as a sensation once the saying has passed, that I was searching for compositional laws at the base of all known arts.
“Let me know if you find any.”
“Oh I probably won’t, but I like where the search takes me.”